Primary schools have a range of reading schemes to choose from. The most popular include Oxford Reading Tree (ORT), Collins Big Cat and Rigby Star, but other schemes are also used, including Lighthouse, Storyworlds and New Reading 360. Some schools continue to use older series, such as Ginn and New Way.
At The Heys Primary School the children mainly follow the Oxford Reading Tree programme, as we feel that the books are new, bright and fresh, and the stories are about events that children can relate to.
How are the schemes devised?
Reading schemes are developed in conjunction with literacy experts. Oxford Reading Tree, for example, is supported by Debbie Hepplewhite, creator of the synthetic phonics programme used in schools. Most schemes begin in the Foundation Stage and progressively become more difficult. For example, Key Stage 1 books are written with a mix of high-frequency and decodable words to develop a range of reading strategies, while Key Stage 2 books cover a wide range of genres and subjects, linking to the curriculum.
How many books do children read at each stage?
The number of books at each level depends on how much practice children need at that stage.
Many schemes also have offshoots alongside the core texts. “In addition to the classic Biff, Chip and Kipper texts, Oxford Reading Tree offers other strands, such as Songbirds Phonics, Snapdragon variety fiction, and Fireflies non-fiction, to develop children’s reading range.
At The Heys we are often asked to recommend books that are popular with children and have a good literary content. Please click on the links below to view our recommended reading lists
We would welcome your views to any other books that you think should be added to the list.
The Heys Primary Schools uses Letters and Sounds phonics resources in school.
Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Practitioners and Teachers. For more detailed information, visit the Letters and Sounds website.
Phonic Knowledge and Skills
Phase One (Nursery/Reception)
|Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.|
Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks
|Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.|
|Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks||The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.|
Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks
|No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.|
|Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)||Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.|
|Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)||Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.|